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World Humanitarian Day 2023 – August 19

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World Humanitarian Day - August 19 2023

The United Nations (UN)’s World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is observed annually on 19th August across the globe to pay tribute to humanitarian people around the world, who have committed their lives in order to support or help others, particularly in times of crisis and conflict.

  • The day is also dedicated to recognise humanitarian people and those who lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.

WHD is a campaign by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

2023 Campaign of WHD:

i.In 2023, the WHD campaign brings together the global humanitarian community to mark the 20th anniversary of the attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.

ii.The 2023 WHD Campaign tagline is #NoMatterWhat.

iii.It represents that, Humanitarians have no other purpose than to save and protect lives and deliver the basic necessities of life, they stand shoulder to shoulder with the communities they serve and bring hope, no matter who, no matter where, and #NoMatterWhat.


i.On 11th December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution A/RES/63/139 and proclaimed 19th August of every year as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).

ii.The first World Humanitarian Day was observed on 19th August 2009.

Why August 19?

i.The day commemorates the tragic bombing of the UN headquarters on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003, which claimed the lives of 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

ii.Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian UN diplomat, who served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • He also served in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in Bangladesh, Sudan, Cyprus, Mozambique, and Peru.

Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD):

i.It records major incidents of violence against aid workers, with incident reports from 1997 through the present.

ii.AWSD initiated in 2005, is a global compilation of reports on major security incidents involving deliberate acts of violence affecting aid workers.

Key Points:

i.According to the Statistics from Humanitarian Outcomes:

  • In 2022, 444 aid workers were attacked: 116 were killed, 143 wounded and 185 kidnapped. Of the aid workers who died, 96% were national staff and 4% were international (expatriate) staff, more than half (47%) were staff of national Non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  • AWSD 2023 Data shows that South Sudan has been the most dangerous place for aid workers for several consecutive years.

ii.As per the UN OCHA’s Global Humanitarian Overview 2023, 1 in 23 people globally needs humanitarian assistance and protection.

About United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

Under-Secretary-General– Martin Griffiths
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland, and New York, the United States of America
Founded on–  1991